Pilot Speed at The Berkeley Church, Toronto (Photos and Review)
19-Nov-2009 07:30 pm
Contributed by: pete
The last time I saw Pilot Speed was in June 2007, about a year after they released their sophomore album Sell Control For Life's Speed. It was a memorable show and even though I didn't place it in my Top 10 of 2007, I did include it in the five additional honorable mentions just because it was a real standout (I photographed about 175 bands that year, so that's still in the top 9%). This year they finally released their third studio album entitled Wooden Bones. In support, they toured the U.S. in late June and July, then Western Canada in early October, and then hit Toronto in November as part of six dates around Southern Ontario.
Three years between albums is not all that uncommon, but it sure feels like a long time to a music blogger like me. In that time, I've been to many hundreds of shows and listened to countless new CDs and bands. If it wasn't for the fact that I would run into Chris Greenough (guitar) fairly regularly out at the shows (he is visible a supporter of the Toronto music scene), Pilot Speed could have fallen off my radar. And even though some of their songs pop up on my playlists every now and then, that last performance I saw faded in my memory, so I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Seeing them perform again at The Berkeley Church brought a lot of that back and reminded me why I still pay attention.
The show and set list was a perfect mix of songs, allowing them to demonstrate both their gentle and more aggressive sides. The band started out with Into Your Hideout, the hit song from their 2004 debut album Caught By The Window (under their previous name Pilate). It turns out this concert was being filmed for a TV show, so perhaps it was placed first in the set to remind would-be viewers who the band was before the channel was changed. Or not, I have no idea, but it was a great way to start out the show, and it was followed by their current hit, Put The Phone Down. About half way through the show is when we got to hear What Is Real, What Is Doubt, the track from Wooden Bones that I just can't stop listening to (and even when I physically stop listening to it, I can still hear it in my head).
Pilot Speed has that attribute that I constantly look for in a band: Really good recorded songs that sound even better live. That is to say, as good and refined as their songs sound in the studio recordings, there's something more powerful about them when you get to see and hear them performed. As a backdrop, The Berkeley Church was a perfect location for their sound. Apparently, they are going to be filming a series of Canadian bands at The Berkeley Church for TV. I should be finding out about these shows as they are announced, so if you're interested in knowing, follow me on Twitter or join my Facebook page.
I know that some bands don't like to play the same market too frequently, but Pilot Speed is a band I would like to see at least once or twice a year, so here's hoping they book another Toronto date that I can make it to in the first half of 2010.
Info: Pilot Speed | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Starting out the night was a band out of Vancouver called Elias that couldn't have been a more perfect match for Pilot Speed. Lots of melodic vocals set against piano with an indie rock backing. Impressed. I picked up their album, Lasting Distraction, that was released on October 13th for further listening fun. It's available on iTunes if you're interested in checking out some samples.
I ended up talking to the band a bit after the show and found out (among other things) that Brian Healy (vocals, piano) has been filming bits of the tour as they go along, and then editing the footage and setting it to their music. Check out Part 3 of their Western Tour below – you can see Part 1 and Part 2 on the Elias YouTube channel.
Info: Elias | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Bad Ideas (mp3)